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Media Contact: Pauline Yoshihashi
Strategic Communications for GFBNEC

Essays, Poetry, Videos to Focus on Japanese American WWII Veterans; High School, College Students to Compete for Cash Awards

(LOS ANGELES, CA - April 17, 2017) - Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) today announced its annual essay, poetry and video competition for high school and college students, which focuses on the relevance and impact of the Japanese American WWII veterans' experience.

The contest is open to high school (grades 9-12) and college (undergraduate and graduate) students with the option to write an essay, poem, or produce a short video. Cash prizes will be awarded to 12 winners: $1,000 (each) to the top six winners and $200 (each) to six second-prize winners. All winners will receive two complimentary tickets to attend GFBNEC's 16th Annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner on Sept. 23, 2017 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles.

Students may write an essay, write a poem, or create a short video on one of two topics:

  • The Japanese American WWII veteran experience is still relevant to our society today. Explore one of the ways this is true.
  • Japanese American WWII veterans not only had the courage to fight against the enemy abroad; they fought for their civil rights at home. Our "Missions of Courage and Compassion" program seeks to preserve the WWII Japanese American veteran legacy of standing up for equality through projects that address contemporary issues of equality. Explore how you stand up for equality as inspired by the WWII Japanese American veterans.

"We're encouraging young people to explore the importance of the WWII Japanese American veterans' experience in today's world," Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC's President and Chief Executive Officer, said. "Last year, GFBNEC received entries from around the country and overseas. We look forward to expanding our Nisei vets' story of commitment and sacrifice to a national and international audience in 2017."

Essays should be between 250 to 500 words in length. Poems should be no longer than three typed pages. Videos should be between three and five minutes in length. A panel of educators will serve as judges. The winners will be presented in a booklet at the Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner and posted on GFBNEC's website,

Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2017; winners will be notified by August 5, 2017. Students are urged to submit their essays, poems, and videos to For full contest rules, please visit or contact Tessa Cencula at (310) 222-5711.

Note to Media: "Go For Broke" was the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Army unit composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland. The term was Hawaiian slang for "shooting the works," or risking everything for the big win in gambling—as the Nisei soldiers did while fighting in the field in WWII and facing prejudice at home in the U.S.

About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of World War II and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the Nisei veterans' core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke monument and the interactive "Defining Courage" exhibition in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs, and other initiatives. For more information, please visit


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